The Life Essay

1512 Words Mar 29th, 2014 7 Pages
The Life Less Taken

The Life Less Taken

In the poem “Alzheimer’s”, Kelly Cherry describes Alzheimer’s disease by observing a man’s life, as he experiences a new lifestyle, all while showing the effects of dementia and the disease. The setting of the poem and the narrator’s fluctuating tone convey multiple emotions and thoughts to allow readers a glance into not only the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, but the struggles as well. The speaker’s tone progresses from an attitude of acceptance to an attitude of great concern; and finally to an attitude that describes the seriousness of the setting at certain times.

When the man is introduced into the poem, he is described as crazy with a mind that he is not
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As the poem is read, the situation is being built upon to show how the man is reacting to the illness. Cherry uses this technique most likely because this man was her grandfather; and the certain events that happened showed just how much the Alzheimer’s disease was changing her grandfather. The poem starts off with a simple house and then expands into a house filled with all the things the grandfather no longer remembers. His memory is not clear anymore for he does not fully remember his house, music, how to read, and most importantly, the love of his life. The narrator’s grandfather is remembered as being a man of purpose; and now it seems that the grandfather’s only purpose is to try to figure out who the woman is standing in the doorway of the house he can no longer remember.

“He stands at the door, a crazy old man back from the hospital, his mind rattling...” (Lines 1-2) The speaker started the poem describing the old man. He is standing in the door, described as crazy. Cherry seems to describe him this way as a way to tell the readers he did not used to be crazy. “His mind rattling” indicates how confused he is and how he does not know where he is. In addition and more importantly, it ensures the reader readily acknowledges this man has Alzheimer’s disease, along with which stage of the disease the man is experiencing. “Back from the

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